HOUSTON – A federal agency is cracking down on a Houston-based company, CryptoFX LLC, for allegedly targeting Latinos and scamming many of them out of money.
The Securities and Exchange Commission says the company used a Ponzi scheme to get nearly $12 million from people. The founders, Mauricio Chavez, 41, and Giorgio Benvenuto, 55, apparently created the company in February 2020 with the objective of teaching people about the cryptocurrency industry by having classes, which billed attendees anywhere from $499 to $1,499, an SEC filing said.
“Instead of actually using investor funds to purchase and trade crypto or foreign exchange assets, Chavez has misappropriated the majority of investor money to fund his unrelated real estate company and his extravagant lifestyle and maintain the illusion of CryptoFX’s prosperity,” the SEC said.
FIEL Houston’s director said impacted families want more communication with the SEC on the civil case.
“We are saddened to have been approached by hundreds of families who have fallen victim to this scam right before the holidays. For the majority of these people, any amount of money is simply too much to lose. Many people put up their livelihood in the hopes of making some money for themselves and their families. In recent months, we have heard about other similar cases and, in this particular case, the total loss seem to add up to over $250 million. We are helping these families with the hopes that more people can come forward and we can bring these bad actors to justice,” said Cesar Espinosa Executive Director FIEL.
The SEC says the founders of CryptoFX LLC used glossy videos, shared online and by word of mouth to gain more members at its schools.
KPRC 2 investigates’ Amy Davis started looking into the organization in late November.
Our investigate team visited the building where the company, CryptoFX LLC reportedly held classes and on the door, a QR code was a pointing people to the Securities and Exchange Commission filing, noting the civil case against the organization.